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Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
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Every Heart a Doorway

by Seanan McGuire

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Wayward Children (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,0469511,638 (3.96)105
  1. 20
    We Are All Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory (Familiar_Diversions)
    Familiar_Diversions: Another work featuring characters who have been through things most people wouldn't believe, and who are now all attending group therapy sessions together.
  2. 21
    The Magicians: A Novel by Lev Grossman (Cecrow)
  3. 00
    Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer (tralliott)
    tralliott: Teens dealing with past traumas in a fantasy-adjacent world.
  4. 00
    Out of Oz by Gregory Maguire (norabelle414)
    norabelle414: What happens to children who spend what feels like years in a magical world, and are then unable to reintegrate with our own world when they return?
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» See also 105 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 93 (next | show all)
Nancy is the newest arrival at Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children--in reality, children like Nancy, who have experienced unreality in the form of fantasy-like alternate worlds. They stumbled through doorways that shouldn't have been there, and found themselves in worlds where they felt more at home than they ever had in their "real" homes.

Nancy spent time in the Halls of the Dead, learning stillness, silence, and patience. Nancy's roommate, Sumi, spent time in a "high nonsense" world and is in love with a Candy Corn farmer who is now, she assumes, lost to her. Kade sojourned in Faerie, and was thrown out when they realized he was only biologically female; Kade is a transgender boy. Jack (Jacqueline) and Jill (Jillian) are identical twins who spent time in a horror movie come to life, where Jill fell in love with a vampire and Jack trained to be a Mad Scientist. They all hope to get home again, and they all know their chances are really, really low. But at least they're among people who understand, people they can trust.

Until students start dying. Sumi is killed and her very talented hands are stolen. A girl whose gift is her exceptional eyes is killed and her eyes taken out--very carefully.

Nancy is the new girl, and her roommate was the first killed. Jack is a Mad Scientist. Christopher carries a bone flute with him, and talks about bones dancing. Tension and suspicion rise rapidly, and Miss West and all her students are afraid that authorities will find out and close down the school. They have to find the killer themselves, before they can't hide what's happening anymore.

This is a beautifully well-done story, with very subtle and persuasive character development. It's scary the extent to which I recognize these kids. I swear, I grew up with some of them. They are very much real teenagers, of the kind who don't fit in. Their not fitting in is less the result of their time in imaginary lands, than the cause of it.

It's just a wonderfully compelling story. Recommended.

I bought this book. ( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
Three stars for the great premise. But there were problems in the execution, including an unconvincing plot. ( )
  JanetNoRules | Sep 17, 2018 |
So many different kinds of lovely. ( )
  wirehead | Sep 3, 2018 |
Enjoyable alternative teen fiction. ( )
  brakketh | Jul 20, 2018 |
I cried over this book, but I cry over pretty much everything Seanan McGuire writes (including Sailor Moon fanfic) so maybe that's not saying much. But this is a story with asexual and transgender main characters, no love triangle, but a lot to say about finding your sense of self.

I cried four times in this book. The first was actually before it came out, when the first bit was up on Tor.com and we were introduced to Kade and I realized he was like me. The second time was when I was sharply reminded that Seanan is not afraid to hurt her characters, the third was at the climax, when Jack... well, it's a spoiler, but they were both sad tears. The last was at the very end, and it was great quiet sobs on my commute home, cathartic.

Seanan has written the guidebook I wished I'd had when I was fourteen. She hasn't so much deconstructed the portal fantasy as she has demystified it, giving us a vocabulary and a compass. She wrote a novella that is perfectly about the themes of chosen family/place vs birth family/place, of creating yourself as a young adult with an identity separate from your family, of learning to do the best you can with the situation you're in, all themes that underlie a lot of portal fantasies.

Basically it's brilliant and I love all of the characters and you should read it. ( )
  jackofmanytrades | Jul 5, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 93 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
McGuire, SeananAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hopkins, CynthiaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
FOR THE WICKED
First words
The girls were never present for the entrance interviews.
Quotations
You're nobody's rainbow.

You're nobody's princess.

You're nobody's doorway but your own, and the only one who gets to tell you how your story ends is you.
"Hope hurts. That's what you need to learn, and fast, if you don't want it to cut you open from the inside out. Hope is bad. Hope means you keep on holding to things that won't ever be so again, and so you bleed an inch at a time until there's nothing left."
We notice the silence of men. We depend upon the silence of women.
"You had milk, I had science," said Jack. "It's amazing how much of culinary achievement can be summarized by that sentence. Cheese making, for example. The perfect intersection of milk, science, and foolish disregard for the laws of nature."
"I am a genius of infinite potential and highly limited patience. People shouldn't try me so."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children.

No Solicitations

No Visitors

No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere... else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she's back. The things she's experienced... they change a person. The children under Miss West's care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.
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Children have always disappeared from Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere ... else. But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children. Nancy tumbled once, but now she's back. The things she's experienced ... they change a person. The children under Miss West's care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world. But Nancy's arrival marks a change at the Home. There's a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it's up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter. No matter the cost.… (more)

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